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[os-truh-sahyz] /ˈɒs trəˌsaɪz/
verb (used with object), ostracized, ostracizing.
to exclude, by general consent, from society, friendship, conversation, privileges, etc.:
His friends ostracized him after his father's arrest.
to banish (a person) from his or her native country; expatriate.
(in ancient Greece) to banish (a citizen) temporarily by popular vote.
Origin of ostracize
1640-50; < Greek ostrakízein, equivalent to óstrak(on) potsherd, tile, ballot (akin to óstreion oyster, shell) + -izein -ize
Related forms
ostracizable, adjective
ostracization, noun
ostracizer, noun
1. shun, snub, blacklist.
1. accept. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ostracize
  • Government imposed smoking bans ostracize and disenfranchise a huge segment of these private businesses' regular clientele.
  • Trouble comes when you offend someone with the legal, financial or cultural power to censor and ostracize you.
  • Do not ostracize him or her due to the psychiatric condition.
  • Group punishments will be used to socially ostracize her--her colleagues and neighbors will be denied birth permits.
  • Historically, tattoos were developed as a way to identify prisoners and ostracize them from law-abiding society.
British Dictionary definitions for ostracize


verb (transitive)
to exclude or banish (a person) from a particular group, society, etc
(in ancient Greece) to punish by temporary exile
Derived Forms
ostracism, noun
ostracizable, ostracisable, adjective
ostracizer, ostraciser, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Greek ostrakizein to select someone for banishment by voting on potsherds; see ostracon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for ostracize

to banish or expel; abolish

Word Origin

Greek ostrakizein 'to banish by voting with potsherds''s 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for ostracize

1640s, from Greek ostrakizein "to banish," literally "to banish by voting with potshards" (see ostracism). Figurative sense of "to exclude from society" is attested from 1640s. Related: Ostracization; ostracized; ostracizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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